Top 5 stories on, week of Dec. 15 |

Top 5 stories on, week of Dec. 15

Snow starts to give way as skiers and snowboarders drop into the Enchanted Forest area Saturday, December 14 at Copper Mountain Resort.
Courtesy Reid Kalmus

Editor’s note: Stories in this list received the most page views on for the past week.

1. Vail Resorts announces third round of companywide layoffs this year

As part of what Vail Resorts calls an “effort to centralize corporate functions,” the major ski industry company has made its third round of companywide layoffs this year, affecting the mountain communities in which the company operates.

The finance teams in these mountain communities — including at Keystone Resort and Breckenridge Ski Resort — have gotten notice that they’ll be laid off in the spring. The announcement follows the company’s marketing and human resources layoffs earlier this year, with the goal of relocating these teams to the corporate headquarter offices in Broomfield. 

The company stated that while affected employees are able to reapply for a new job in Broomfield, they were not offered direct transfers. Affected employees also were offered a severance package.

Taylor Sienkiewicz

2. Copper Mountain Resort confirms recent avalanche was in open terrain

First reports of an avalanche at Copper Mountain Resort cited it occurred in a closed area of the resort and that an individual was caught on camera disregarding the closure, likely causing the slide. After further investigation, Copper ski patrol concluded there were two avalanches: one on open terrain and one on permanently closed terrain.

According to Reid Kalmus, an accomplished local backcountry skier and snowboarder, he was snowboarding with a friend Saturday morning, Dec. 14, when he came upon the entrance to a traverse that led into the Enchanted Forest area. There was a line of people waiting for ski patrol to drop a rope, and Kalmus said there were about 20–25 people in front of him and, by the time the rope dropped, about 15 more people behind him. 

According to Kalmus, when the slide occurred in the open terrain, three people were pushed into a wind fence from the upper slide and were partially buried. Another man happened to have a backcountry kit with a shovel and started digging people out of the snow. Kalmus estimated there were 40–50 skiers and snowboarders present. No one was injured in the slides.

Taylor Sienkiewicz

3. Forest Service eases disclosure on ski area fees after complaint by Vail Resorts

Public oversight of the ski industry has become a casualty of the battle between Vail Resorts and Alterra Mountain Co.

As the competition between the ski companies has heated up, the amount of information the U.S. Forest Service will share about ski areas’ use of public lands has diminished. The Forest Service administers permits and oversees ski resorts that use public lands for their operations.

For several years, the agency publicly disclosed permit fees paid by individual ski areas, such as the 11 in the White River National Forest.

But the Forest Service unceremoniously reversed its policy on release of the permit fees paid by individual resorts after Vail Resorts objected in December 2017, according to information The Aspen Times obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Now, the Forest Service will only share aggregated permit fee information for the ski areas in the White River National Forest. No individual permit fees are being shared on a forest, state, region or national level.

— Scott Condon, The Aspen Times

4. Breckenridge International Snow Sculpture Championships downsizing to just one sculpture in 2021

At the Breckenridge town council work session on Tuesday, Dec. 10, assistant town manager Shannon Hayes reported to council the Breckenridge Events Committee’s proposal to downsize the 2021 International Snow Sculpture Championships due to the closure of the South Gondola lot. Hayes said in her memo to council that hosting the full event with the closure would cause “immense traffic and parking challenges,” proposing that the 2021 show consist of one sculpture, which would collaboratively created by a number of participants from previous winning teams.

Council agreed with the event committee’s proposal. The 2020 snow sculpture event will occur as planned with a competition between sculpture builders. The event will take place from Jan. 20–29. The 2022 event is expected to return to the normal competition format.

Taylor Sienkiewicz

5. Skier who died at Keystone has been identified

The man who died Monday at Keystone Resort was identified as 66-year-old Martin Chader of Golden, according to the Summit County Coroner’s Office.

At about 11:50 a.m. Monday, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a skier who was found unconscious and not breathing on a ski run at Keystone. The man, later identified as Chader, was transported to the Keystone Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Summit County Coroner Regan Wood said the manner of Chader’s death is considered natural, and the cause of death has been characterized as related to cardiac issues. Wood noted that no autopsy was performed because Chader had a history of cardiac health problems.

Sawyer D’Argonne

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